Conservatives attacking the trans community will come after LGB people, too

Ernst Rohm was chief of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party in Germany from 1931 to 1934. He also happened to be homosexual.

For whatever reason, Adolf Hitler seemed to tolerate — or at least ignore — Rohm’s sexuality. And throughout his time with the SA, Rohm would take part in the oppression of homosexuals and transgender individuals under Hitler’s command, likely viewing himself as “one of the good ones.”

Ultimately, Rohm was killed by Hitler’s order on the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.

Several months ago, the hashtag “#LGBWithoutTheT” began rapidly trending on X (the social media site formerly known as Twitter).

Under that hashtag, lesbians, gays and bisexuals shared their negative views of the transgender community, stating their desire to sever association with trans people.

Conservatives began rallying around the individuals sharing these opinions, often writing that they affirmed LGB people, but wouldn’t support the rights of the trans community.

The hashtag and rhetoric associated with it still remain present in political discourse. Proponents of the idea say that sexuality and gender identity are exclusive, so there is no need for lesbians, gays and bisexuals to support trans people.

But what LGB individuals who spew this rhetoric fail to realize is that they will never be able to sever the connection with the transgender community because their sexuality will always separate them from the conservatives with whom they try to ally themselves.

Lesbians, gays and bisexuals who play into this narrative come from a place of wanting to be accepted. After having been outcasts from mainstream society for so long, they are willing to do anything to get the acceptance that they have craved all along. So when the opportunity to ally with conservative thought arose at the cost of the transgender community, many were willing to cast aside trans people for the sake of feeling accepted by the same people who used to put them down.

Proponents of the severance between the LGB and T communities spread the same message that was once used against them; those same insults they once faced they are now using themselves to target transgender people.

What used to be “I don’t want gay kids in my child’s locker room” has become “I don’t want trans kids in my child’s locker room.”

What was once “Gay people are coming for your children” has become “Trans people are coming for your children.”

But what these anti-trans LGB people are refusing to see is that targeting the trans community is merely a doorway for conservatives into targeting the entire LGBT community. Anti-gay conservatives are aware that it is less socially acceptable to speak out against homosexuality these days. But they are also aware that it is generally easier and more acceptable to speak out against trans people. So these conservatives tie lesbians, gays and bisexuals to transgender individuals by painting them as proponents of “transgender ideology,” which then allows them to attack the LGBT community as a whole while facing less resistance.

The parallels between the anti-gay legislation that spread across the nation in the 1970s and 80s due to the likes of Anita Bryant and these modern anti-trans bills are striking.

Today, HB 1096 in Florida bans transgender educators from using their preferred pronouns and requires them to use pronouns that correspond with their gender assigned at birth, essentially excluding transgender professionals from educational settings. Compare that to Proposition 6, a failed California ballot initiative in 1978 that was intended to ban homosexuals from educational settings.

In both of these examples, the goal of government officials was to exclude members of marginalized communities from teaching.

The number of Republicans who support same-sex marriage has decreased by 15 percent since 2022, according to Gallup. Anti-trans rhetoric would have some believing that this is the fault of transgenders soiling the name of the LGBT community. But common sense makes it clear that transphobia is merely being used as a vehicle to justify homophobia in a more socially acceptable way.

When hate arises, there is no one to blame but the proponents of hate.

In addition to LGBT issues, anti-trans rhetoric has been used as an excuse to target other forms of what many conservatives refer to as “woke ideology.” The same legislation in Florida that instituted book bans on materials that reference sexuality and gender also includes restrictions on materials about a variety of topics including race and political ideology. Some non-LGBT books that have been banned in Florida include Chik Chak Shabbat, a story about Jewish neighbors celebrating the Sabbath together, and Before She Was Harriet, which tells the story of American hero Harriet Tubman.

These bans all began with LGBT materials. This makes it clear that anti-trans rhetoric harms not only the LGBT community but everyone who is an ally of knowledge and truth.

The LGBT community must not divide itself. Weakening the community will only empower those opposed to anyone who isn’t a cisgendered heterosexual. Proponents of severing the lesbian, gay and bisexual community from the transgender community must realize now that they will only end up harming themselves in the end.

Will Reames is a Junior at Marquette University studying political science and theater arts. He was raised in North Texas by two moms who taught him the importance of helping others, which is the base of his work.